Société des écrivains des Nations Unies à Genève
United Nations Society of Writers, Geneva
Sociedad de escritores de las Naciones Unidas
Revue littéraire internationale
Volume XVI - décembre 2005
An International Literary Journal
Volume XVI - December 2005
Revista literaria internacional
Volumen XVI – diciembre 2005
Nations Unies, Genève United Nations, Geneva
Naciones Unidas, Ginebra
Table des matières/Contents
. A Geneva Latino Tale (David Winch) 7
. Samuel Beckett (Ita Marguet) 10
. Il suffit de demander l‟heure (Ita Marguet) 14
. Mozartkugeln (Karin Kaminker) 18
. Diarios Asincrónicos de Oaxaca (Bartolomé Leal) 19
. Pillules sauteuses, Popping Pills (Aamir Ali) 27
. Migration and History (AdeZ) 31
. Challenge (Aline Dedeyan) 34
. Le Mur (Aline Dedeyan) 37
. Ephemerides (AdeZ) 40
. Le miel de l‟amour (Nicolas Rozeau)
. So who are you? Photocopying the moment (Bohdan Nahajlo) 46
. Sérail du souvenir (Alex Caire) 47
Nouvelles/Short Stories/Cuentos 48
. Ognennaja Kolesnitza/Chariot of Fire (Alexandre Loguinov) 49
. Terry Wing-Fingers (Karin Kaminker) 76
. The Readers (Charles Slovenski) 78
. The Stick (Julia Yemin) 86
. The Golden Box (Vatsala Virdee)
. The Young Man and the Ugly Fairy (Nedd Willard) 89
. Best Friend (Zeki Ergas) 90
. Under the Rain (Hossam Fahr) 91
Pages poétiques/Poetry/Poemas 94
. Jet d‟eau, Lac Léman (Weimin Wang) 95
. It's up to you (Alexander Klokov) 97
. Besoin d`une douceur (Alex Caire) 98
. My Story and the Poetry, All That Love, Family Night at a Ranch, Self-
Dialogue (Walid Al-Khalidi) 99
. Face à Face, La Vie (Hoang Nguyen) 101
. Le cil le poil et le cheveu (Belménir) 103
. Mickael Collins (Nicolas Emilien Rozeau) 104
. Les quatres saisons (Gabriel Galland, Karin Kaminker) 107 . Patricia (François Hirsch) 108
. Quatre images Quichottesques, Quatres compositeurs (Roger Prevel) 110 . Petite cause, Passage, Limbes (Jacqueline Forget) 114 . Opaline, Noffert (Alex Caire) 116
. Un ancien interprète se souvient, Private Property,
And Who Shall Watch Over the Shepherds? (David Walters) 117 . Under the Ground (Karin Kaminker) 121
. Ziggie, Reach, Self-Absorption (Alexa Intrator)
. Sunday in Little Italy (Victoria Slavuski) 124 . Never Mind, Beerfly, Roses at Dusk (Peter Auer) 125 . Hazrat (Anwar Shaheed) 127
. Wane away the Whittling Moon (Ayse Sul Caglar, Zafar Shaheed) 128 . Departure (Zafar Shaheed) 129
. Pursuing Hope, A Sparrow Falls (Louise Bigwood) 130 . Ibranimar (Ray Barry) 132
. Mama Ngina and I (Zeki Ergas) 135
. Morning, Dancing Swan Lake (Sygun Schenck) 137
. Marabout, Maori Fish Hook, Bois de Jussy (Beth Peoc‟h) 139
. The Lute and the Golden Key (Nedd Willard) 142
. By the Patriarch, Exposure, Inspiration (Bohdan Nahajlo) 144
. A Cintia II, Motel (Maria Elena Blanco) 146
. La Derrota (Noemy Barrita Chagoya) 148
. Yo Soy la Tortura (Eduardo Labarca) 150 . Spiel der Macht, Wertigkeit, Urteil, Ewiges Wissen, Menschen Liebe
(Johann Buder) 151
Enquête interne: (Touvu) 154
. U.N. English Language Poetry Translation Contest (Manuel Torres, 156
Nigel Lindup, Lucinda Schulz, Ebenezer First Quao, Michael Kazmarek)
. Running before the Wind (translation: Carl Freeman) 159
. Poèmes de Rainer Maria Rilke (translation: Paule Rey) 160
Hommage: Paule Rey in memoriam, 25 septembre 2005 162
Staff Society of Writers
President: Karin Kaminker
Vice-President: Carla Edelenbos
Secretary: Alexa Intrator
Treasurer a.i.: Janet Weiler
Editorial Board: Walid Al-Khalidi
Rosa de Cabrera
Editor-in-Chief Alfred de Zayas
Honorary President: Sergei Ordzhonikidze
This is the sixteenth issue of Ex Tempore, which has been published since 1989. We are grateful to all who helped us make this number possible, and invite all members of the UN family, staff, retirees, members of the diplomatic corps, press corps, ngo-community, consultants, fellows and interns to become our readers and contributors.
The Editorial Board is proud to publish in this sixteenth issue contributions from 43 authors, in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese. For its seventeenth issue, the editors welcome the submission of crisp, humorous or serious prose and poetry. Essays, short stories, science fiction, plays, poems, reflections or epigrams may be forwarded to Karin Kaminker or to Alfred de Zayas, in electronic form: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Ex Tempore is not an official United Nations publication and responsibility for its contents rests with the Editorial Board and with the respective authors. The final choice is made on the basis of literary merit and appropriateness to a publication of this kind. The copyright remains with the authors, who are free to submit their manuscripts elsewhere. Some articles may be published under pseudonym; others do not identify an organization, but use the acronym UNSW/SENU to indicate membership in the United Nations Society of Writers/Societé des Ecrivains des Nations Unies. Financial donations to assist Ex Tempore with its expenses and membership fees (SF 30 per year) may be forwarded to account No. 279-CA100855.0 at the UBS, Palais des Nations, United Nations, Geneva.
Publishing: A. de Zayas, K. Kaminker
Cover design: Diego Oyarzun-Reyes
Drawings by Bernard Bouvier and “Touvu” ISSN 1020-6604
In 2006 we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Beckett, the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the 400th anniversary of the birth of Rembrandt van Rijn.
While everyone remembers Sonnet XLIII of the Sonnets from the Portuguese
―How do I love thee, let me count the ways ... ‖ personally, as a happily married man, I cannot think of a truer love poem than her Sonnet VI:
Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand
Henceforward in thy shadow. Nevermore
Alone upon the threshold of my door
Of individual life, I shall command
The uses of my soul, nor lift my hand
Serenely in the sunshine as before,
Without the sense of that which I forbore –
Thy touch upon the palm. The widest land
Doom takes to part us, leaves thy heart in mine
With pulses that beat double. What I do
And what I dream include thee, as the wine
Must taste of its own grapes. And when I sue
God for myself, He bears that name of thine,
And sees within my eyes the tears of two.
About the celebrated Irishman Beckett, author of Waiting for Godot, and Nobel
laureate for literature 1969, we shall learn more from the essay by Ita Marguet reproduced below.
Let us welcome 2006 and pledge ourselves to making this a Year of Peace, where children will fly their kites in all the colours of the rainbow.
AdeZ, Président du Centre Suisse romande de PEN International, UNSW/SENU
A GENEVA LATINO TALE
The Caribbean laps ashore on Lac Léman
nlike the larger and more renowned international cities, such as Paris or New
York where every bar, bistro and streetcorner seem to have spawned stories,
Geneva has cast a minor reflection in the pool of world literature, with few U memorable images.
It is not unheard-of for Geneva to be thrown in the spotlight by a major writer. After all, even Jorge Luis Borges embraced the Swiss city, as he wrote in his poem ―The Web‖:
In which of my cities
am I doomed to die?
Where revelation reached me
From Virgil and Tacitus?
Perhaps prophetically, Borges actually died in Geneva in 1986.
A story like ―Bon Voyage, Mr. President‖, by another great Latin American
writer, Gabriel García Márquez, in his collection Strange Pilgrims (Doce Cuentos
Peregrinos), continues this literary trend.
The collection of 12 short stories, which García Márquez assembled over a period of years, then lost entirely, then reconstituted in his head, is full of unlikely yarns about Latino travellers and adventurers in Europe. An aging streetwalker in Barcelona trains her dog to be the sole mourner at her grave, a Sleeping Beauty awakes to her surprise on an airplane, and the ominously titled ―I Only Came to Use the Phone‖ hints at dark comic possibilities in the hands of a master like García Márquez.
―Bon Voyage, Mr. President‖, written in the late 1980s, is on the surface the story of an encounter between several expatriates. It also allows us to look at Geneva from ―outside‖ – with a foreign sensibility and the ―outside‖ perspective of art.
García Márquez‘s experience here shows in his well-observed takes of Geneva
life: with a sudden gust of wind off the Salève, Lac Léman ―turned to a tossing sea‖; the ―dusty swans‖ troll for scraps along the lakeside Jardin Anglais; seedy backstreets
wind ominously through the Grottes district; the Swiss cantonal flags on the Pont du Mont Blanc are ―maddened‖ by wild winds. There are also telling details, such as the Swiss flower lady sternly warning a passerby not to pick flowers in public gardens.
García Márquez has written that the first paragraphs of a short story are ―excruciating‖ for him, because the entire tone and theme, and even characters are set there. He begins ―Bon Voyage, Mr. President‖ with a lakeside scene that brings into
focus the protagonist, a forcibly retired expatriate President from some vague Caribbean republic. He draws a picture of a man resembling any other bourgeois gentleman tending his time:
“ He wore a dark blue pin-striped suit, brocade vest, and stiff hat of a retired
magistrate. He had the arrogant moustache of a musketeer, abundant blue-black hair with romantic waves, a harpist‟s hands with the widower‟s band on his left ring finger , and joyful eyes. Only the weariness of his skin betrayed the state of his health. Even so, at the age of seventy-three, his elegance was still notable.”
García Márquez immediately stretches this portrait to yield a broad insight into Geneva: ―He was one more incognito in the city of illustrious incognitos‖, the city where diplomats, celebrities and tax exiles come and go, barely noticed by the swans. However, only deposed presidents get prime seating (―special table‖) at a Geneva lakeside restaurant:
… there seemed to be no empty tables. Homero Rey, surprised that no one recognized the President, walked to the back to request assistance.
“Is he an acting president?” the owner asked.
“No,” said Homero. “Overthrown.”
The owner smiled in approval.
“For them,” he said, “I always have a special table.”
There is Geneva flavour here, but like a faded photo -- musty, as if it were set in the 1940s. There is a vague disharmony in this view of Geneva. The story features an odd juxtaposition of the Swiss city and the Latin and Caribbean worlds, which seem to lap right onto Lac Léman. When he is caught off-guard by a follower from his former, undefined country, the ex-President asks: “Where are you from?”, the young follower
answers simply “the Caribbean.”
García Márquez is careful not to define this mysterious ―country‖ of origin, and
lets us fill in the impression with an ensemble of images, smells, tastes, memories and intuitions. The story is replete with dreams and feelings of the Antilles and the
Caribbean world: the smell of shellfish filling an apartment, a flamboyant mulatta woman‘s obsession with the stars and their messages, and the lavish jewelry she collects and seldom wears. But this gives the reader a steady sense of a musty, somewhat dated provincial culture; like a vintage photo. In which year does this story take place? It does not seem to be our era, despite being so recognizable. A Marquez touch.
Back home again
What insights, then, does a great writer bring to Geneva?
There may be a moral twist in the story, as a potentially predatory Latin couple whom the elderly President encounters turns out to be friendly. After initially attempting to defraud him, by preying on his medical problems with a new insurance policy, they end up confiding in him and taking him under their wings. They have good hearts under calculating exteriors. -- Does this signal the cool surface temperature but warmer heart of Geneva ? Or rather, just the need in Geneva for links to one‘s cultural compatriots, even those from whom one has done everything to separate oneself ?
Maybe Geneva life requires a calculation -- a moral trade-off involving one‘s
identity versus one‘s interest. That surely cannot last. Even the President closes out his ruminative and recuperative years in Geneva, and ends up waving farewell to his well-wishers from a train leaving Cornavin, as he sets out to relaunch his political career in his faraway homeland.
The few literary clues major writers have left us about Geneva life force us to squeeze each lemon for every drop of literary meaning. García Márquez may have given us a charming tale, but we alone can conclude what it means for life in Geneva.
David Winch, UNOG